E-commerce for tradies

Productising Services

I was having a chat the other day with a good mate of mine, he’s a sparky. He was telling me how he was spending so much time on the phone answering the same questions over and over again, so much so that it is cutting into his time available to actually do paid work. His thinking was he needed to put someone on just to handle the phone and appointments. Sound familiar?

This kind of situation is pretty common, and the reason it happens is because service businesses actually invite their customers to interact with them this way. They might have a basic website with a phone number as the call to action, a facebook page with the phone number as the call to action and if they have their crap together maybe even a google business page, again with the phone number being the main call to action.

So which ever way the customer comes accross the business it all leads to the phone call.

The next issue of customers asking the same thing over and over again, is because customers want to know a price, when it can be done and then to arrange the booking.

This whole process can be streamlined and integrated into an eCommerce solution that will free up your time, keep your customers happy, likely get you more customers and also get you paid quicker.

Thinking of services as products

Instead of thinking of trade services as jobs and projects, think of them as products, and especially in terms of the customer experience.

Traditional tradie pricing models usually go along the line of a callout fee plus the first x amount of time in labor, plus parts to arrive at a “should be round about this price mate” price, that is 99% of the time the same for the same type of job in the same area. eg a new powerpoint 20k’s from Timbucktoo costs $200 if they want to do two powerpoints whilst you’re already there the cost is $300.

A different approach more in tune to great customer experiences would be to offer power point installation as a product with a quantity break. Eg. Power Points installed from $200, the customer then enters the number of power points they want, a price is calculated, choose an availability time and pay for it just like they would a new pair of shoes from eBay.

Presenting your product as a service this way you have solved the following problems for the customer :

  • They know how much it is going to cost
  • They know when it can get done
  • They haven’t had to waste their time picking up the phone to call around

The problems it solves for the tradie are :

  • Less time spend on the phone answering the same questions
  • Money in the bank before the job is started
  • A customer that knows what they are going to get
  • A customer that is less likely to go elsewhere as you have answered all of their questions

But what about jobs that blow out or are a bit less straight forward

Of course you’re not always going to be able to productise every single service you offer. However that doesn’t stop you from selling the call out fee and the first block of time.

  • You get paid up front
  • You have captured the charge so adding additional hours when the job is complete is easy, and you know you’re going to get paid.
  • Your bookings are streamlined.

So even though the less straight forward jobs are likely to involve a phone call, you can always point them back to the booking system to do the rest.

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